In the work of Gyung Jin Shin, systems are developed to misuse the established order. The actual function of technology, equipment, or a formula is converted into an irrational and unpredictable object, procedure, or operation that generates intentional mistakes or misunderstandings. With a prevalent sense of humor, Gyung Jin locates loopholes in technology in order to comment on a fluid sense of identity, and the impossibility of complete understanding and knowledge.
In the performance video Smiley Suicide, a kind of black comedy, Gyung Jin's body and face function as a field where opposite values, meanings, and emotions meet. She disguises herself as a smiley face and repeatedly mimes shooting herself with a toy gun that emits laughing gas (Nitrous oxide) from a whipped cream dispenser. Mixing a dizzy, hallucinatory loss of self with laughter, she evokes the spectrum between two opposites: laughing and crying, happiness and sadness. The laughter caused by the laughing gas is the result of a lack of oxygen in the brain; this sensual pleasure and the biological pain are two sides of the same coin.
A "smiley", a stylized representation of a smiling human face, is often used as a generic term for emoticons—symbols that divide human emotions into several simple, typified icons. In the real world, however, human emotion is more like a chaotic, messy mass of contradictions rather than an organized chart. At the end of the video, by cracking the yellow face, Gyung Jin— an Asian woman—attempts to deny a standardized and fixed identity.
Gyung Jin Shin was born in Seoul, Korea in 1983. She received a MFA from Columbia University in 2010 and a BFA from Seoul National University. Gyung Jin received a grant from The Korean Culture and Arts Foundation and Daekyo Cultural Foundation. Her work has been exhibited in the US and Korea at venues including Fisher Landau Center for Arts, New York; Doosan Gallery, New York; Wallach Gallery, New York; Chelsea Art Museum, New York; A.I.R Gallery, New York; VIDEOFORMES, France; International streaming festival, Netherlands; Ilmin Museum of Art, Seoul and Seoul Museum of Arts, Seoul. She lives and works in Hong Kong and Seoul.